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Chalet Girl

Chalet Girl

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

FELICITY Jones shines but everyone else seems to be on a slippery slope in Phil Traill’s Chalet Girl, a painfully British snowboarding rom-com that does everything you’d expect and little else.

Designed as a winning mix of Pretty Woman and Bridget Jones, the film is over-reliant on awkward sit-com style comedy and lazy scenarios you can see coming from a mile away.

Fortunately, it’s rendered watchable by Jones, whose performances of late suggest big things lie in wait. She makes the most of her limiting material in a way that even puts the likes of Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy and Tamsin Egerton to shame.

The plot revolves around feisty 19-year old Kim Matthews (Jones), a one promising skateboarder whose career is curtailed by the sudden death of her mother.

Forced to look after her heartbroken dad (Bill Bailey), she eventually lands a job as a chalet girl in a glitzy ski resort in the Alps, where she quickly finds herself falling for her boss’s son Jonny (Westwick) against the advice of co-worker Georgie (Egerton).

But as she grows in confidence and even begins to rediscover her passion for boarding on the slopes, she must decide where her loyalties lie and steer clear of Jonny’s ice-princess girlfriend Chloe (Sophia Bush) and his scheming mother (Brooke Shields).

It’s clear from watching Traill’s film that the cast obviously had a good time making it and the chemistry between them shines. But Tom Williams’ script paints everyone in such broad stereotypes that it’s hard to really care about anyone except Jones.

Kim’s dad, for instance, is such a movie caricature that he doesn’t really seem real, Westwick offers very little except eye candy for the girls, Egerton seems to be on auto-pilot and Nighy and Shields are clearly on board to add star appeal.

Traill’s direction is also found wanting given that the story beats are obvious and woefully generic, offering no surprises and nothing to even vary the formula in any way. But then he did also direct Sandra Bullock’s All About Steve!

Thankfully, Jones emerges with her reputation not only intact but enhanced, proving she has the talents to carry a movie. Hers is a winning mix of charisma and vulnerability made all the more impressive by the fact she’s also performing her own stunts some of the time.

Having found a great deal of fame as one of the voices of The Archers, she now looks set to make an even bigger name for herself in front of the cameras.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 96mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 3, 2011